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Salary Story: I’ve Never Negotiated And It’s My Biggest Regret

Illustrated by Virginia Gabrielli.
In our series Salary Stories, women with long-term career experience open up about the most intimate details of their jobs: compensation. It’s an honest look at how real people navigate the complicated world of negotiating, raises, promotions and job loss, with the hope it will give young women more insight into how to advocate for themselves — and maybe take a few risks along the way.
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Age: 35
Location: London
Current industry and job title:  Higher education, associate director
Current salary: £65,578
Number of years employed since school or university: 13
Starting salary: £17,500 in 2011
Biggest salary jump: From £55,000 to £65,000 in 2021
Biggest salary drop: N/A
Biggest negotiation regret: Never having negotiated. I pretty much always worked in higher education where the pay and grading is decided at a national level. So when I went into a law firm I was just happy that it was paying more than my current role. Then, when I took on new responsibilities, they offered me a bit more money and I was just happy as I was expecting to take that on for nothing.
Best salary advice: Just apply for the job even if you do not meet all the criteria. So few people apply for jobs in the library sector (once you get above library assistant) that there is a good chance you will at least get an interview.